Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice from the VSKC committee (13 May 2020)

Some great news! On 11 May 2020, the Victorian Government announced an easing of current restrictions, effective from 11:59 PM on 12 May 2020.

This allows the VSKC to resume club paddles and training under the eased restrictions below:

  • Maximum group size of 10.
  • Multiple groups of 10 are not to gather in same location or close together.
  • Physical distancing rules must be complied with at all times.
  • Day trips only, as camping is still prohibited. You need to be able to drive there and back within one day.
  • No rolling practice in swimming pools.
  • Training is permitted but must comply with physical distancing rules.

More information about this easing of the Victorian Government restrictions, in place until 11:59 PM on Sunday 31 May, is provided at the end of this news item. As these restrictions change, please expect further updates from the VSKC committee.

THE VSKC COMMITTEE'S COVID-19 TRIP GUIDELINES FOR MEMBERS

These guidelines are drawn from the DHHS, Paddle Australia and the VSKC committee as they apply to the VSKC trips and training. Members are expected to abide by these guidelines.

All paddlers on club trips should familiarise themselves with and always act in accordance with the COVID-19 advice from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and any Federal, State or Local Government recommendations or requirements that are applicable. 

For more information and advice about COVID-19 please see the state and federal websites: 

www.dhhs.vic.gov.au

www.health.gov.au

When not to attend club trips

Please do not attend VSKC events if you fall into one of the following categories:

In the event you, or someone you have had contact with is diagnosed with COVID-19 and you have participated in VSKC events in the past 14 days, we ask that you alert the VSKC committee so that we can seek advice and take appropriate measures within our VSKC community.

Paddle Australia also advises:

  • Paddlers who are unwell, symptomatic, who have returned to Australia within the last 14 days, or who have been exposed to anyone that has COVID-19 within the last 14 days should not attend events or club premises and should seek medical advice.
  • Paddlers with pre-existing medical conditions that are known to be impacted by COVID-19 should not attend events or club premises until further notice.

Participating in club trips

The VSKC aims to cultivate sea kayaking as an enjoyable adventure – inclusive, safe and sustainable.

The current pandemic has added a further risk to sea kayaking. These guidelines aim to reduce the risk to club members. The easing of restrictions does not indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. There is plenty of information available on the dangers of contracting COVID-19, the ease of transmission, and the fact that infected people can be asymptomatic. This means that paddlers might attend a trip in good faith but be asymptomatic and therefore unwittingly infectious.

Each paddler needs to make a decision about whether to attend a trip. Each individual is responsible for assessing the risk to them of contracting COVID-19 and the risk that they may be infectious and pass it on to another club member. Each paddler is responsible for managing their personal measures to prevent exposure to COVID-19. Each paddler who chooses to attend a VSKC paddle accepts the risk of contracting COVID-19.

We endorse this guidance from Paddle Australia for club and individual paddlers:

  • Exercise common sense. As well ensuring you remain healthy, you have an obligation to do nothing to increase the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 amongst the broader Australian community.
  • Paddle within your abilities. Preferably paddle on sheltered waters where you can self-rescue in case of an emergency. Unless you are an experienced and competent paddler, do not paddle on the ocean.
  • Ensure you always comply with current physical distancing and health and hygiene guidelines when both ashore and afloat and when travelling to and from the venue.

Health, physical distancing and hygiene measures

Keep your distance – stay 1.5 metres away from others

  • Do not shake hands, hug or kiss as a greeting.
  • Ensure a distance of at least 1.5 metres is kept between yourself and others.[1]

Stay healthy – practise good hygiene

  • Good hygiene is critical for stopping the spread of coronavirus.
  • Everyone should take the following hygiene actions:
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
    • Do not share drink bottles, crockery or cutlery.[2]

Stay home if you are sick

  • If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you should stay at home until completely well and it has been 3 days (72 hours) since your last fever (if you had a high temperature or fever).
  • If you have the symptoms of coronavirus you should get tested. 
  • You can find information on getting tested for coronavirus here.[3]

Registering for club trips

Paddlers must contact trip leaders before attending any club trip, to indicate their interest in attending. This applies to all club trips, even those regular trips that are less formal, such as the Saturday morning Red Eye or the monthly Canadian Bay paddle. This is required to ensure group size limits and, in the event that a paddler is subsequently found to have COVID-19, notify other paddlers who attended that trip.

Where the weather and sea conditions are less suitable for less experienced paddlers, trip leaders may advise the paddler that the trip is not appropriate for them. This is to reduce the need for assisted rescues, which are difficult to carry out while maintaining physical distancing. This is an unfortunate consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally the club encourages paddlers to challenge themselves where rescues can be managed safely.

Travelling to the launch location

  • Where possible driving with passengers outside your household should be avoided.
  • When arriving at the launch location by car, park a suitable distance from other paddlers’ cars to maintain physical distancing.
  • Paddlers should bring hand sanitiser and any personal protective equipment (PPE) for their own use and keep this readily accessible.
  • Hand sanitise on arrival.

Getting boats off cars and to the water

  • Any paddler, before and after assisting another paddler to carry their kayak to or from the water, should use hand sanitiser. Avoid handling other equipment belonging to other members.
  • Kayaks should be spaced at the launch point sufficiently apart to allow physical distancing of at least 1.5m between paddlers.

Trip waiver

Members should consider how they intend to sign the pre-trip waiver form while maintaining hygiene precautions. For example, a trip member can:

  • indicate in an email to the trip leader that they consent to the trip waiver.
  • print the trip waiver at home and sign it at home and pass it to the trip leader.
  • bring their own pen to use to sign the trip waiver and hand sanitise before and after signing.

Pre-launch briefing and post-paddle debriefs

  • Ensure physical distancing from other participants of at least 1.5m.

Launching, paddling and coming off the water

  • Paddlers should maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5m.
  • Use of shared sporting equipment should be minimised and there should be no sharing of equipment that touches the face or head (e.g. helmets, goggles or masks).[4]

Post paddle socialising

  • Picnics at parks are allowed, where the group size is no larger than 10.[5]
  • Physical distancing of at least 1.5m from other persons is to be maintained.

VSKC Insurance

The VSKC committee is seeking further information on insurance and COVID-19.

 

Information extracted from the Department of Health and Human Services website

Can different fitness or recreation groups hold separate activities in the same park?

 Victorians are urged to continue to follow the rules and to use common sense while outside exercising. People should be mindful that numerous groups of 10 should not gather in the same location or close together. Police will continue to monitor activities to ensure compliance. www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sport-cultural-and-recreational-activities-restrictions-coronavirus-covid19#can-different-fitness-or-recreation-groups-hold-separate-activities-in-the-same-park

Which recreational facilities are restricted?

Canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rowing and surf skiing are permitted, as long as physical distancing is complied with and people don’t travel large distances to do them. If you need to travel, you need to be able to drive there and back within one day. www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sport-cultural-and-recreational-activities-restrictions-coronavirus-covid19#which-recreational-facilities-are-restricted

 

[1] www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/staying-safe-physical-distance-and-hygiene-coronavirus

[2] www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/staying-safe-physical-distance-and-hygiene-coronavirus

[3] www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/staying-safe-physical-distance-and-hygiene-coronavirus

[4] www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/staying-safe-physical-distance-and-hygiene-coronavirus

[5] www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sport-cultural-and-recreational-activities-restrictions-coronavirus-covid19#can-i-go-to-the-park 

Can I go to the park?

Yes, you can relax at the park, have a picnic or play non-contact sports. Keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people at all times. You can meet up with friends, family and loved ones at the park but only in groups of up to 10 people, and multiple groups of 10 people should not gather close by.